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Anthem Adrift
Wrong or Rite of Passage
09/07/2011, Day 8 to Fiji

Racor Fuel Filters, Water Separators

8 September 2011

Approaching front sent wind speeds to 30 - 35 knots and seas near 5 meters. Not sure this was forecast by weather weasel. Perfect timing was achieved when conditions deteriorated as engine quit with one of us on deck furling mainsail. Figuring it wasn't our day hove to and had hot dinner with wine (first in a week). This worked great until 2300 when wind left, but waves didn't. Sleep is probably over-rated.

Finally got engine going early AM by draining water from Racors and replacing filters. Wind, forecast to go light and veer north then west by morning is still from northeast at 18 - 20. If, ref. revised forecast, wind does that north then west thing sometime in the near future, may get to Suva before end of official clear-in workday Friday to avoid getting trapped on boat all weekend.

The adventure continues. Crew highly impressed with first passage on Anthem. Can't wait for next.


Romance in the Air
09/06/2011, Day 7 to Fiji

7 September 2011

Foolishly thinking environment would get better we approached the evening with light hearts and uplifted minds. It was a cruel hoax. Generally dry cockpit (even with full enclosure) and all clothing are soaked. Not only are conditions still rambunctious, but now appears wind may veer north (our direction of travel) presently. (By the way, for northern hemisphere winds, 'veer' means clockwise and 'back' means anti-clockwise. Since shifts around a front are opposite down here, meanings are reversed. Tell a friend.)

Weather guy says at least wind and sea will subside somewhat as norther kicks in tomorrow night. If he were any good we would have a 15 knot beam reach in calm sea. Hey, after four days of this, killing the messenger seems like a perfectly sane response. He lives in Maine. I'll pay. At least there's fuel to motor- sail rest of distance if necessary. Currently expect arrival tomorrow night, Friday morning or sometime prior to heading back to New Zealand.

OK admit it, you're overwhelmed with the romance of cruising.

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx


A Tun of Fun
09/05/2011, Day 6 to Fiji

Old Wive's Tale

6 September 2011

One of those days that makes one appreciate the others. Four and a half meter sea with up to 30 knots of wind. Boat's jumping around like an elephant in a herd of mice. Jan, who is OK, rolled across the cabin to hit her head and already sore knees. Wind generator keeps overheating so periodically someone has to climb out to the aft deck to wrap a line on the blades. Cabin looks like aftermath of a tornado. Great fun. Why wouldn't everyone want to do this?

Only thing to do is wait for the end (of the rough weather), so we both took showers, had Irish stew for dinner and went to bed. Jan gets to sleep in pilot berth all night as Captain has to stay in cockpit anyway.

Best part is that arrival in Suva will probably require hours of clear in rather than long, hot showers at the Royal Suva Yacht Club, a tun (does it weigh a ton?) of wine and serious bunk time.

All good. It beats playing shuffleboard all day.


Sunday, Not Mundane - Monday?
09/04/2011, Day 5 to Fiji


4 September 2011

This was one of those good news, better news kind of days. Looks like the boring segment of passage is over as sea has reached 2 to 3 meters in 25 of knots wind and is still building. By AM may be 3 to 4 meters in 30 knots, expected to last at least 36 hours. Wheeee!

Just to confirm, that was the good news. Otherwise, ride under triple-reefed main and staysail is sufferable so far (with very careful attention to hand holds), we're making reasonable progress toward Suva, late autopilot has found new life after a little nap and nobody is puking. It doesn't get much better.

Now for the best news. Expect primary occupation next couple of days to be hanging on, clutching Bunny and whimpering like a baby, so don't look for great volumes of blather in the interim. Relieved smiles are OK, outright cheering would be indiscreet.


Is It Fun Yet?
09/03/2011, Day 4 to Fiji

Ditch Bag

3 September 2011

Bought waterproof ditch bag during a recent visit to US for when boat bursts into flames or crashes into the odd semi-submerged container to sink like a stone. Loaded it with all the emergency gear no self-respecting life raft would be without: food, water, flares, signal mirror, sun screen and cribbage board... no sense letting imminent death spoil the fun.

Hand steering for the next 4 or 5 days at first seemed like the cat's pajamas, but upon reconsideration rigged Voyager wind vane when electric autopilot, having gotten a tad hinky of late, assumed 'former' status. After a few petulant attempts at returning to New Zealand, Waldo (OK then, you think of a better name) has now kept us headed toward Fiji for several hours biding it's time until middle of night to go squirrelly (immutable law of nature #57).

Latest forecast indicates previous 4 straight days of wonderful sailing may stretch into tomorrow afternoon before effluent impacts the air movement device with winds Monday and Tuesday into 30s and seas to 4 meters. Woohoo!

"It's only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis." - Margaret Bonnano


Fun and Games
09/02/2011, Day 3 to Fiji

Icom HF Radio and Chart Table

2 September 2011

Formerly effective Honda generator has become obstreperous after some months of inattention. Oil change finally induced it to run, but not to accept a normal electrical load (battery charger). Black smoke and horrible burning odor after several minutes of attempted operation might possibly also not be a good sign. Will probably take it to authorized repair station in Fiji for remedy... and angels will probably fly out of a bodily orifice.

Automatic control of SSB has become indisposed due either a USB cable or hub. Symptoms are inconsistent and illogical. Must be a computer. Where's Steve Jobs when he's needed - hasn't returned a single phone call. At least data cable works if spoken to very gently and with feeling.

Otherwise another beautiful day of sailing passes as rain associated with a cold front that has chased us since morning draws near with backing and apparently, temporarily easing wind. Enhanced trades expected Sunday for a boisterous starboard tack reach last four or five days of passage. Let the games begin.


Music of the Night
09/01/2011, Day 2 to Fiji

Cup Locker

1 September 2011

Another good day of sailing averaging 6 knots with only the occasional death roll. Wouldn't be so noisy if someone would secure loose detritus in cup locker (cups?). Not holding breath from here on as forecast shows wind going astern then east and running to 25 within next few days. May need that new third reef.

Not quite smooth enough to grill lamb on the barbie. With kumara, green beans, grilled tomato and a vintage iced tea dinner was 4 star (point off for Clif Bar dessert).

Midnight watch swaddled abed in heavy duvet. First watch ready for same in 3 long hours. Always takes a couple days to get into rhythm. A scythe of moon peeking through clouds is meager help for rereading Asimov's "Foundation and Empire".


Food for Thought
08/31/2011, Day 1 to Fiji

Marsden Cove Piers

31 August 2011

Off we went like a one turtle herd at 1045L after ingratiating ourselves to customs guy Bruce by hiding in the cafe over brekkie when he arrived early. He probably didn't mind wasting 20 minutes looking for us before continuing his otherwise chockers day.

Initial wind (as forecast, oddly enough) was 140 degrees off port bow (for the compassly (not a real word) challenged that's 40 degrees from dead astern) at 14 to 17 knots. Partly cloudy sky and easy sea made for an uncharacteristically auspicious beginning for a passage.

Having scant appreciation for a captain's duty to abuse crew, Jan took issue with the 2100 to 0800 watch, but agreed to make dinner and take midnight to 4. Alimentary inducements have thus produced malleability in said captain.


Is It Warm Yet?
08/30/2011, Marsden Cove Marina Near Whangerei

Anthem at Marsden

30 August 2011

Lay day in Marsden Cove due waiting for weather and customs. Neglected to send 48 hour notice reference that second thing. Who knew they took silly rules so seriously? Would have waited until this evening anyway, so take that. Spent extra time to rig 3rd reef in main and fix washdown pump and solar panels. Why, you may ask, wasn't that stuff done in Auckland? Ummm... I'll have my people get back to your people with that answer in a few days.

Just to impress everyone with newfound diligence, wish to mention also topping off diesel tanks, draining all water to refill with some that's actually clear and tasty (Pier 21?) and performing a multifarious assortment of additional tasks too numerous to mention.

Should be off the dock around 1000 local which is 2200 GMT Tuesday or 1800 EDT Tuesday. Very confusing. Would much simpler if everyone was on my time. And speaking of daylight savings time - bah humbug!


It's Alive!!!
08/29/2011, Marsden Cove Marina Near Whangerei

At the Helm

First a Cliff Note of catch-up. Extended stay in Kiwiland was due excessive and costly boat work and circumstances attendant to association with Jan, a Canadian permanent resident of Australia. She's a beautiful and talented, 51 year old surgical nurse who independently loves all the lifestyle concomitant with cruising and with whom a permanent partnership has been initiated to share the adventure. More specific information for the inquisitive few will require individual contact.

So, after nearly 10 boat months in New Zealand (seems longer in people months), Jan & I, echewing caution, good sense and really fine if inexplicably pricey lamb, have left Auckland to begin sailing north toward balmy Fiji. Having been apprised of an affliction here referred to as winter, we are girding to avoid loss of nether regions due associated thermal conditions expected first several days. As location is South Pacific this circumstance seems horribly wrong.

Because customs and immigration status approach limit of local tolerance until arrival of FBI report allows permanent residence application, we will clear out at Marsden Cove to cast off into the great ocean Wednesday morning, he confidently avers, for the perfect 9 day passage. Weather router in Maine probably meant to assure us of this.

Finally, to the chagrin of preposterously thousands of literary critics, this moribund blog is thus declared alive to a currently indeterminate degree. Frequency and extent of future postings will be revealed in the fullness of time.


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S/V Anthem
Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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See profile for information on why this mess is being foisted upon an innocent world and, despite what is probably your better judgement, how to make contact.
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